2018 Asian Games Weightlifting

Andrew Charniga

The weightlifting competition of the 2018 Asian Games took place in Jakarta, Indonesia August 20 – 27, 2018. Since the weightlifting was part of the Games program the competition was held at the huge Jakarta International Expo center along with boxing and gymnastics. The training area was conveniently located in the adjoining hall. The Asian Games are the Olympics of Asia; consequently, the level of competition was very high with a total of seven attempts at the old world records before the introduction of the new weight classes. Only one of these was successful and one can only wonder how many more there would have been had China and Kazakhstan had been allowed to enter teams.

48 kg class

RI Song gum (PRK) 199; Sri Wahyuni Agustiani (INA) 195; Thunya Sukcharoen (THA) 189

RI Song gum (PRK) misses clean with 117. Charniga photo

RI Song gum (PRK) overcame a 1 kg deficit in the snatch to defeat Sri Wahyuni Agustiani (INA). The big difference here was the ability to jerk the barbell with Sri the stronger in the clean; but lacking the refined skill to jerk the biggest weight. RI was either injured coming into the competition or injured herself on her second attempt in the jerk. Nonetheless, they sent her out hobbling to try to lift 117. This effort was not close and could have made matters worse.

53 kg class

Hidilyn Diaz (PHI) 207; Sermetova Kristina (TKM) 206; Surodchana Khambao (THA) 201

Hidilyn Diaz (PHI) pulling 117 kg. Charniga photo

In this class it came down as it does in many cases, to the lifter making the most attempts. The top three lifters: Hidilyn Diaz (PHI) Sermetova Kristina (TKM) Surodchana Khambao (THA) made 7 of 9 in the snatch and 7 of 9 in the clean and jerk. Their motor skills in the snatch carried over to the attempts in the jerk. Hidilyn Diaz (PHI) and Surodchana Khambao (THA) each succeeded with 115 or 217% of bodyweight with both exhibiting good balance and speed of movement. Tall and lean with long arms; Sermetova Kristina (TKM) could have put the gold out of reach with her final at 116 but she sent the bar forward from the start such that it was not possible to fix it.    

58 kg class

Kuo Hsing – chun (TPE) 235; Sukanya Srisurat (THA) 226; Mikiko Ando (JAP) 218

 Kuo Hsing – chun (TPE) misses world record attempt with 143. Charniga

Kuo Hsing – chun (TPE) won with her first jerk of 125 so it wasn’t much of a contest. She was credited with 130 on her second even though the barbell weighed 130.5 kg. It is a rather sad state of affairs with all the officials present, more than a dozen computers in use, an idiot proof loading protocol; yet the called for weight of 133 was minus a 2.5 kg disc on one side. It isn’t just unfair to the athlete to be deprived of 3 kg in the total; there is a real risk of injury associated with lifting a near maximum weight with an unbalanced barbell.

Kuo Hsing – chun (TPE) had chosen a reasonable intermediate weight to prepare for her third attempt a 143 kg to break her own world record. There is an obvious expectation for the officials to justify their presence by adhering to the rules to assure reasonable safety precautions are adhered to. Kuo struggled to clean her 143; pausing a few seconds for the excessive barbell vibration to subside enough for her to jerk.

The effort was sufficient to raise the 143 yet she was unable to lower herself in the split position with her bent rear knee. The bend in the rear knee limits the lifter’s ability to lower the center of mass of the barbell/athlete unit; the back leg can’t support the pressure of bending. A lifter can ‘stretch’ forward and down with a straight rear knee to counterbalance the weight and lower the combined center of masses; but this action is very limited with a bent rear leg.      

63 kg class

KIM Hyo – sim (PRK) 250; Choe Hyo – sim (PRK) 238; Rio silver Rattanawan Wamalun (THA) 225

KIM Hyo – sim (PRK) cleaning 132. Charniga photo

The Olympic silver medalist Choe Hyo – sim (PRK) needed three attempts at 105 to get one good lift. Whereas, her teammate KIM Hyo – sim opened with a shaky 111; followed by a miss at a modest increment to 113. She managed this weight on her third to move into an insurmountable lead. The problem of controlling barbell oscillation with the 15 kg bar is obvious even at weights as low as 111 kg with the wide hand spacing of the snatch; something coaches and athletes need to be aware; especially in the lighter weight classes.

KIM Hyo – sim (PRK) opened with a safe 132 jerking very fast with straight back leg. Her teammate Choe Hyo – sim (PRK) followed with a mechanical clean and slow jerk with 133. Rattanawan Wamalun (THA) cleaned the same 133 but made a terrible effort at jerking the weight. KIM Hyo – sim (PRK) cleaned 135 with a hop backwards; followed by another very snappy jerk with no discernable press up on the bar. Wisely selecting only a 2 kg increase she struggled at the top of the recovery; she paused briefly relaxing her grip on the barbell to make another excellent jerk.

Choe Hyo – sim (PRK) like several of the PRK lifters at this competition has obvious signs of wear on her body from years of lifting. She made two slow mechanical cleans with 133 but failed to jerk either with a large bent back knee technique of jerking.      

69 kg class

RIM Un-sim (PRK) 246; Hung Wanting (TPE) 233; Mun Yu – ra (KOR) 231

RIM Un-sim (PRK) the sister of the Olympic RIM easily won the 69 kg class. Charniga photo.

RIM Un-sim (PRK), the younger sister of two time Olympic champion RIM Jong – sim made two snatches ending with 109 to take a big lead which was never threatened. She made 130, 134 and 137 in the clean and jerk with a hop back clean and fast split jerks to win by 13 kg.

75 kg class

RIM Jong – sim (PRK) 263; Sri Wayuni Agustiani (INA) 237; Mun Min -Hee (KOR) 236   


RIM Jong – sim (PRK) jerking 147. Charniga photo.

Lifting well within herself, with no real competition, two – time Olympic champion RIM Jong – sim (PRK) made six good lifts to finish sixteen kg ahead of her nearest competitor. However, she looks a little worse for wear from an accumulation of injuries.